Editor’s Pick: WashTimes Showcases Report on How Few of Today’s Immigrants Work

May 14th, 2024 10:33 AM

In a front-page story for Tuesday’s print edition and published Monday online, The Washington Times’s intrepid reporter Stephen Dinan shared the findings of a new Center for Immigration Studies report that said only 46 percent of recent immigrant arrivals — both illegal and legal — are holding down jobs and contributing to the American economy.

“The Center for Immigration Studies, using Census Bureau numbers, calculates that 46% of immigrants who arrived over the past two years are employed. That challenges a key selling point from immigration advocates that the stream of newcomers is critical to the U.S. economy,” he explained, pointing out this means even though “[s]ome immigrants say they are looking for work...most...are out of the labor force.”

He cited this key quote from CIS officials Steven A. Camarota and Karen Zeigler: “Immigration clearly adds workers to the country, but it just as clearly adds non-workers who need to be supported by the labor of others.”

Dinan later went through the push and pull of whether mass, persistent immigration benefits an economy:

One persistent issue has been whether immigrants are a net benefit or a drain.

The Congressional Budget Office says that taken as a whole, the economy grows faster with more people. The reason is simple: More potential workers means a more productive total economy.

The CBO says the average worker is slightly worse off. Again, the reason is simple: The pie may be bigger, but it is divided by even more people.

The CBO says the population has a large range of outcomes. Those at the higher economic rungs come out better off with higher immigration levels, while those on the lower rungs, who are more likely to compete with less-educated newcomers, end up worse off.


The CIS said the unemployment rate among immigrants from Latin America, overlapping heavily with illegal immigrants, without a college education is 10%. That rate has held steady for several decades.

The Biden administration is trying to get official work permits for newly arrived illegal immigrants who are caught and released into the interior. Immigrant rights advocates say that will allow the migrants to support themselves and stop using government assistance.

To read Dinan’s story, click here.